Brain Damage Didn’t Stop His Dream

Brain Damage Didn’t Stop His Dream

Taylor Harkins was born the color blue. Something had gone wrong in his mother’s womb. Before he was born, poor Taylor had swallowed a piece of his own feces and choked for a long enough period of time to procure lasting injuries. When his parents brought him home, they were under the impression they were bringing home a happy and healthy baby.

Things became more noticeable as Taylor grew up. He became clumsy and didn’t put his hands up in defense as he fell over. He spilled things and couldn’t keep up the same pace of learning as other children his age. He would throw huge temper tantrums, frustrated over not being able to participate in games and such.

Taylor Harkins was soon diagnosed with brain damage, without much hope for treatment or any sort of positive change. There was nothing he nor his parents could do to help Taylor.

His father, Clyde Harkins attempted to grow closer with his young son over superheroes. He bought Taylor Batman and Star Wars action figures at an early age. This budding interest soon thereafter evolved into Legos.

At first, Taylor would only watch his father put Lego kits and models together, but eventually, he started to assemble his own designs. Taylor became obsessed with playing with Legos and even began inventing his own unique creations.

After graduating from his high school’s special education program, back in 2000, becoming a functioning adult proved incredibly difficult for Taylor. He possesses a very weak sense of time, so he was continuously late to every job he worked at before ultimately getting fired. Taylor eventually found himself working in computer repair and strongly disliking every second of it.

It wasn’t until 2011 that Taylor reconnected with his passion for building with Legos. When a Shop Goodwill in Santa Ana came under new leadership, the new business operations manager saw potential in Taylor.

Shop Goodwill is basically a smaller version of an eBay operation. It’s essentially an online auction for various items from household appliances to toys and jewelry. Legos are often donated to Goodwill by buckets full. They were sold extremely cheaply, for example, a small baggie for $2.99, until Taylor Harkins found his element.

Shop Goodwill now sells fully assembled and amazing Lego creations, all designed and built by Taylor Harkins. Some of his masterpieces even sell for absurd amounts of money. For instance, Taylor once built a chess set with Star Wars Lego pieces which sold for $350.

Taylor’s Lego creations sell for an average of about $45 and maintain a 100% sell-through rate. Although he is paid minimum wage, Taylor couldn’t be happier as Shop Goodwill’s official “Director of Legoland.” He makes about 20 Lego designs every shift he works and has helped Shop Goodwill go from around $1 million in revenue to roughly $6 million in only five years!


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